Friday, August 20, 2010

Notes from a Holiday

Angela having a couple of weeks booked off, it was time for a break.

Starting, on the last day of July, with a day at the Cambridge Folk Festival. This was less laden with names I knew in advance than previous years, I must admit, which didn't make it any less fun - and at least the weather was decent, the day we happened to be there. I quite enjoyed Pink Martini - I know that some people wouldn't consider them to be folk, to an even greater extent than a lot of performers who show up at the Festival, but hey, I'm happy to regard 1930s lounge lizards who like doing covers of Ravel's Bolero as my kind of folk - while Kathy Mattea, doing what seemed to my untrained ear like a traditional sort of American folk-country, with a lot of songs about coal mining, was very good at what she did. Anyway, a good day.

The next day (our wedding anniversary) was lunch with friends, and the day after that was packing, because on the Tuesday, we flew out to Stockholm. I'm mostly going to record this in the form of a photo log on Flickr, which is still a work in progress right now, and may take a while to finish (I have a lot of digital images to sort through and tweak), but anyway, for the record, we stayed in the Hotel Rival (strongly recommended, even at the cost of directing yet more cash into the great Abba money maw - and by the way, if the Swedes are so proud of their internationally successful exports, how come I kept seeing references to Abba but none to the Cardigans?), which was located in Sodermalm, Stockholm's Bohemian quarter. By the way, "Bohemian" in Swedish turns out to mean "was poor working-class a few hundred years ago, and now has rather a good selection of nice little restaurants".

Stockholm actually turned out to be a great city for a holiday, if not the cheapest place to eat (and an even more expensive place to drink, thanks to the Swedish government's tax-based attempts to stope the Swedish people from drinking to dull the pain of living in an orderly, prosperous society). The generous supplies of good-quality coffee, sometimes actually free, compensated somewhat for that. The preferred building style often suggested a peculiar fixation on Renaissance Italy - a better model than most, in truth, although the local light wasn't exactly Mediterranean in intensity, which maybe reduced the effect rather - but the city's real advantage is that it's wrapped round and threaded through a lake and bay and archipelago; there was a feeling that the first thing one should do each morning was check which cruise liners were dominating the skyline that day.

Highest points of the holiday included the extraordinarily well-preserved centuries-old ship Vasa in its own museum, ascending the tower of the fortress at Vaxholmen for a beautiful view over the inner archipelago on a summer day, and strolling round the extraordinary outdoor museum and zoo at Skansen. Anyway, a good ten days.

And then it was back home.

1 comment:

Lucy said...

Glad you had a good time! I'll hop over and see the pics shortly.